The Swiss Path without doubt constitutes one of Switzerland’s best national monuments to experience. Inaugurated in 1991 (to mark the 700th anniversary of the founding of the Helvetic Confederation) it is a looped 35km (22mi) walk that traces its way from the Rütli meadow (where the Confederation supposedly came into existence). It skirts the fringes of Lake Uri (part of Lake Lucerne) and finishes in the pretty lakeside town of Brunnen.
The walk is divided into 26 stages, each representative of one of the country’s 26 cantons (counties). Each one proportionate in length to the size of its canton’s population as of 1991.
Walking times depend on your level of fitness and need to stop and take in the scenery or meal. Here is a rough estimate: Rutli-Seelisberg, one hour; Seelisberg-Bauen, two hours; Bauen-Isleten 30-45 minutes; Isleten-Fluelen two hours; Fluelen-Tellskapelle 90 minutes; Tellskapelle-Sisikon 45 minutes; Sisikon-Brunnen 2½ hours. Obviously, the warmer, drier months are the best time to do the walk.
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If you break the trip into three parts from Rutli you can enjoy a night staying near Seelisberg at a Sleep in Straw facility, with the (German-speaking) Ziegler family. That said, accommodation and eating options can be found at every town on the route, although you should book ahead in the busy summer months.
Also, from Fluelen, you may wish to make a detour to the birthplace of Tell himself, Bürglen, which plays host to a Tell Museum and a couple of other Tell-related attractions.
Getting to and from the walk is an easy affair. From Lucerne there are regular boats to Rutli, or you can take the train (much faster) to Brunnen and then take a 10-minute boat ride to the meadow from there. From Brunnen it’s either a boat ride or train ride back to Lucerne. However, you could get your fill of Swiss history by continuing to the picture-perfect town of Schwyz, a mere 10-minute train ride from Brunnen. You can also take the William Tell Express from Fluelen to Ticino. You can also do the walk in the opposite direction.
Brunnen itself is a popular lakeside town, with the excellent Victorinox Swiss Knife Valley Visitor Centre its main tourist draw. It’s a great spot to stock up on custom-made Swiss Army Knife souvenirs.
To book a suitable hotel or other accommodation in or around Lucerne, you can use the map below, which shows current prices for hotels and apartments. If you wish to book further afield, then just enlarge the map (+/-) to see more properties or, if you have somewhere particular in mind, enter your preferred resort/town/village in the ‘Where are you going?’ box.